The Yemeni Air Force bombed a position held by the 119th brigade east of Zinjibar in Bajdar. Airstrikes hit a school Saturday night where soldiers had taken up position. Al Qaeda-linked militants then reportedly attacked the school, killing wounded soldiers. At least 30 soldiers were killed in the incident. A Yemeni defense ministry source denied the reports that the soldiers died in the friendly-fire incident. The 119th brigade had defected from the government, but has been actively fighting al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan.
Fighting east of Zinjibar between al Qaeda-linked militants and the Yemeni army is ongoing. Militants ambushed Yemeni troops east of Zinjibar Sunday, killing nine soldiers. Four other soldiers were killed fighting the militants in Zinjibar. Airstrikes killed 15 militants, according to local officials. At least 28 soldiers and militants died in fighting around Bajdar Saturday.
Minor clashes broke out again in Yemen’s capital. Residents reported the exchange of gunfire near the defected First Armored Division’s headquarters in Hayel district in Sana’a. Shelling killed a child and two other civilians were also killed in the fighting.
The ongoing political crisis in the capital has placed the Yemeni state at risk of a broader armed conflict. Further, the Yemeni state has been undergoing fragmentation. Al Qaeda has seized control of territory in south Yemen and the current situation has increased the organization’s operating space in the country.
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